The Hardham Cup was presented for the first time by the WRFU in 1939, to be awarded for competition among the then six teams in the bottom section of the Senior First Division.¬† Wellington College Old Boys were the first winners of this trophy.
The cup was awarded to honour William James Hardham, who was born in Wgtn in 1876. He was a talented rugby player, playing for Petone and representing Wellington from 1897-99, 1903-06, and in 1908 and 1910.
After an amazing military career, including being awarded the Victoria Cross (he the only New Zealander so honoured in the South African War), Hardham came back to New Zealand.
He continued to play for Petone and became heavily involved in rugby administration.¬† He served on the WRFU management committee from 1908-1914, 1921-25 and became a life member of the union in 1927.
He passed away in 1928 from influenza at just 51 years of age.
The Hardham Cup is now contested by the bottom four sides from the first round Premier One Swindale Shield competition and the top four from the Senior One Harper Lock Shield.¬† With promotion-relegation on the line, the Hardham Cup is always just as hard fought as the Jubilee Cup, as proven over the past few seasons.¬† This season being no exception, with¬†five clubs battling it out for the right to play Swindale Shield rugby in 2012.